Impossible Glamour
Jackson’s wedding.
    I lifted my thumb to my lips and tugged at a hangnail that had been bothering me most of the afternoon.
    The sun approached the horizon, and soon the wind would whip up and the air would grow chilly. A few laps to get my head straight. I tucked my JAMA magazine into my bag with my phone. Last night I’d eaten in the dining room, but tonight would be room service, Trainwreck on VOD, and then maybe a Nora Roberts romance. Nothing like taking my mind off the demise of my career dreams and a man sleeping in my bed and my whole family talking about it like a little romance reading.
    I slipped into the pool. A perfect eighty degrees. I pulled down my goggles and pushed off the side. Sliding through water calmed me. Weightless and free, I couldn’t remember a time I hadn’t loved the feeling of buoyancy and ease. My arms sliced through the water, and I concentrated on the far end of the pool. Of course, no one else was swimming laps. Pools at resorts in Southern California were for viewing purposes only. No one actually swam, they lounged and looked awesome. Maybe they hopped into the water to cool off and perhaps some effortless cavorting took place, but not laps. I pressed my fingertips to the smooth surface of the wall, flipped underwater, and turned. My feet pushed off, and back toward the other side I went. I was nearly to the other end when I saw in my periphery someone else actually swimming laps too.
     
    *
     
    This Joe Schmo was actually trying to race me. I could feel it. Could feel the pressure of him keeping up and passing and then me keeping up and passing. We were stroke for stroke on the same side of the pool. My lungs burned and I touched the wall and flipped. I wouldn’t stop. No. Way. We’d been going for nearly fifteen laps and I was close to tapped out, but there was no way some guy in board shorts was going to force me to quit. Just no.
    I sliced my hand through the water and kicked hard. If I could solidly beat him on this next lap, really end with an obvious win, then I was out. I pressed on. Nearly there, my hand touched. I glanced to my left. No one. I’d done it. He had to be eating my wake. I popped up and sucked air deep into my lungs.
    What the hell? The guy who’d been racing me for the past half hour was already sliding up from the pool. Son of a bitch. He beat me. He turned back to me and a giant grin claimed his face. I pulled my goggles up and shot him my nastiest look.
    His smile slid. He shook his head. “This day couldn’t get worse.”
    That voice.
    “Webber?”
    “I didn’t know bag ladies could swim.” He reached out his hand to help me from the pool.
    “And I didn’t know sharks could ever stop.”
    His hand clasped mine. Electrical pulses shot up my arm, and I sucked in a quick breath and hopped up onto the pool deck. Webber was in front of me. Inches from me.
    “Looking good there, Michael Phelps.”
    I wanted to say something smart. Something edgy and funny. Something to diffuse the heat that thrummed through me, but I couldn’t think. I couldn’t really form words. I could, however, stare into those brilliant blue eyes that laughed at me. That cocky grin that tightened my stomach. The water droplets cascaded down his well-muscled, sun-kissed chest. I could consider those hands on my body and those lips on my… Oh my God, I had to stop. I was keenly attracted to Webber.
    “What are you doing here, Webber?”
    “Agency retreat. And you?”
    “The place Mom and Daddy sent me to relax for a week.”
    Webber nodded. “Your dad must not have known CTA’s retreat was here this week. No way Steve Legend sends you, his little brainiac daughter, into shark-infested waters to swim.”
    I started to step back, away from this attraction, but my foot slipped and the pool deck wasn’t there. I flailed with my right arm.
    Webber reached out and snaked his arm around my waist. “Gotcha.” He pulled me in close.
    Got me. A breath shuddered through my chest.

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